IHLC 2019 In Review – Women’s

A dramatic year for women’s international hockey, both on and off the ice, saw the International Hockey Lineal Championship change hands four times in a number of unlikely scenarios throughout 2019.

The year began with the inaugural “Rivalry Series” between Canada and the United States, seeing Team USA win game one before Canada captured games two and three, ensuring they would take the title to Espoo for April’s World Championships. The Americans retained in their showdown with Canada in the group round, but for the first time in tournament history they failed to contend for the title a second time, as they were stunned by Finland in the semifinals, who very nearly stunned Team USA to capture Gold (and what would have been just their fourth IHLC title in history) if not for a controversial finish. Team USA managed to hold on to retain the IHLC and win their fifth straight World Championship.

The 2019-20 season was set to start up at November’s Four Nations Cup, to be hosted in Luleรฅ, Sweden, but due to a boycott by the Swedish women’s team over a dispute with the Swedish Hockey Federation, the tournament was cancelled for the first time in its history in September, leaving the women’s calendar in question. Instead, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey decided to extend their scheduled rivalry series earlier, setting up a pair of exhibition games in suburban Pittsburgh for early November, a series that Canada swept to retake the IHLC. The teams met twice more in December, with Team USA winning both contests, to ensure that they carry the IHLC into the next decade.

The following games were contested over the women’s IHLC in 2019 (click for game recaps and boxscores):
366. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 1-0 CANย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย โ€“ 12 Feb 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Londonย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
367. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 4-3 USAย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย โ€“ 14 Feb 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Torontoย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
368. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 2-0 USAย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย โ€“ 17 Feb 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Detroitย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
369. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 6-0 SUIย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญย โ€“ 04 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
370. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 3-2 CANย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย โ€“ 06 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
371. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 8-0 SUIย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญย โ€“ 07 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
372. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 10-0 RUSย ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บย โ€“ 09 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
373. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 4-0 JPNย ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ตย โ€“ 11 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
374. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 8-0 RUSย ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บย โ€“ 13 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
375. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 2-1 FINย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎย (SO) โ€“ 14 Apr 2019 โ€“ WWC โ€“ Espooย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎย ๐Ÿ…
376. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 4-1 USAย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย โ€“ 08 Nov 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Cranberry Townshipย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
377. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 5-3 USAย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย โ€“ 10 Nov 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Cranberry Townshipย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
378. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 4-1 CANย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย โ€“ 14 Dec 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Hartfordย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
379. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 2-1 CANย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย โ€“ 17 Dec 2019 โ€“ EX โ€“ Monctonย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

The IHLC Rankings for 2019 were as follows (total all-time wins and rankings in parentheses):
01. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย UNITED STATES – 9 wins (137, 2nd)
02. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CANADA – 5 wins (224, 1st)

As mentioned, Team USA once again heads into the new year with the IHLC in tow, with the Rivalry Series set to renew this February with exhibition matches in Vancouver, Victoria and Anaheim. The winner of their final match on 08 February will get the honour of carrying the title into the 2020 World Championships in Nova Scotia, Canada in April, where Canada will look for their first title since 2012 on home ice, while Team USA goes for six straight titles, and Finland will look to finally conquer the mountain and put an end to the North American dominance of the women’s hockey world.

Photo Credit: 2019 Womenโ€™s World Championshipย โ€“ IIHF โ€“ HHOF โ€“ IOC



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